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Samsung Galaxy A31 – Not Really The Best

- Updated: 10th Aug 2020, 14:56 IST
  • 1
    Review Summary
  • 2
    Introduction
  • 3
    Prices in India, Variants, Availability
  • 4
    Box Contents
  • 5
    Specs at a glance
  • 6
    Design and Build
  • 7
    Display
  • 8
    Performance
  • 9
    Software
  • 10
    Cameras
  • 11
    Battery
  • 12
    Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
  • 13
    Pros & Cons
  • 14
    Verdict
Review Summary

The latest entrant in the Samsung Galaxy A series, the Galaxy A31 is packed with a Super AMOLED display and a large 5000 mAh battery. In terms of camera, the Galaxy A31 possesses a 48 MP quad-camera setup on the rear, along with a 20 MP selfie camera. Galaxy A31 features a MediaTek MT6768 Helio P65 octa-core chipset, which is where it disappoints. The compromises made on the processor make it unsuitable for heavy users and avid gamers. Galaxy A31 may only be a decent fit for light users due to its good display and long battery life.

PROS

  • Massive 5,000 mAh battery
  • Giant 6.4” sAMOLED panel
  • Feature-rich & latest Android OS
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

CONS

  • An underpowered processor at this price
  • Biometric is slow
  • Average camera setup
Key Specs
Battery Capacity5000 mAh
Operating SystemAndroid v10 (Q)
Screen Size6.4 inches
Highlights:
  • 5000 mAh

  • Android v10 (Q)

  • 6.4 inches

Introduction

Samsung has one of the most enticing smartphone lineups. It is one of the few companies that have released tens of phones this year and one of them is the budget category Samsung Galaxy A31. A budget phone, Galaxy A31 brings a vibrant Super AMOLED display on-board along with a giant 5,000 mAh battery and a few upgrades over its siblings Galaxy A11 and A21s while being underpowered when compared to Galaxy A51.

Read More: Top Samsung Smartphones

Keeping all aside, Galaxy A31 does have a stand-out configuration at a price tag of Rs 20,999/-. It does have pros like an in-display fingerprint scanner, a giant battery, a memory card slot, and more. Scroll through this review and see what the Samsung Galaxy A31 holds for you.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Although Samsung Galaxy A31 is available in multiple configurations, it is only available in one configuration in India. Samsung Galaxy A31 with 6+128GB is available at Rs 20,999/-. Colour options include Prism Crush Blue, Prism Crush White, and Prism Crush Black. You can purchase it across Samsung’s website, Amazon, and Flipkart among other online and retail stores.

On Flipkart, you can access exchange offers, EMI starting at Rs 989/mo. On Samsung’s website, the phone is available with zero down payment and EMI starting at Rs 2,624.88/mo for 8 months along with an exchange offer on-board.

galaxy_a31_colours

Box Contents

The box of Samsung Galaxy A31 includes nothing extra-ordinary but standard:

  • Samsung Galaxy A31 device
  • Silicon Case
  • USB Power Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • Quick Guide

Specs at a glance

Find below what the all-new Vivo X50 has to offer on papers:

  • Display: 16.21 cm (6.4-inch) Super AMOLED – Infinity U cut display, FHD+, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 412 PPI
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P65 octa-core processor
  • RAM & ROM: 6GB/128GB
  • Software: OneUI 2.0 (based on Android 10)
  • Rear cameras: 48MP (F2.0) quad rear camera + 8MP (F2.2) ultra-wide camera + 5MP (F2.4) depth camera +5MP (F2.4) macro camera 
  • Selfie camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5000 mAh
  • Weight: 185g
  • Dimensions: 159.30 x 73.10 x 8.60

Design and Build

Samsung Galaxy A31 embraces the same design language that its siblings offer. It is a modern design similar to that of Galaxy A51. Weighing at 185 grams, the phone has a flat display at the front with a teardrop-shaped notch that doesn’t eat up a lot of screen real estate. The bezels are slim although not too much and the chin is substantial in size as well.

Flip the phone and you’ll see a familiar L-shaped camera that houses a quad-camera set up in a rectangular camera bump on the top-left of the back panel. Moreover, it has a three-layer sandwich construction thanks to a front glass with an unspecified Corning Gorilla Glass version. It is followed by a plastic made frame and back panel textures to give it a glass appearance but don’t expect it to be a super premium-looking phone. Overall, it gets its job done.

The right side of the phone has a power button and a volume rocker on-board while the left side features a dual SIM setup with a dedicated memory card slot. The edges are curved to make it easy to hold the phone that is already a large piece of plastic at 6.4”.

Display

The display takes the credit of the best thing you will get on the Samsung Galaxy A31. It is an AMOLED panel after all but it is an older generation of OLED panel so there’s a bit of compromise here. The phone sports a giant 6.4” panel with 1080×2400 pixels resolution and an astounding 411 PPI density.

galaxy_a31_display

The phone has a tall 20:9 aspect ratio that makes it a great device for viewing content. It was able to pull off 420 nits of brightness although a max brightness could topple 635 nits of brightness. With the sub-par brightness, you won’t be able to see the screen in a broad daylight.

The display has a deltaE2000 of 5.1 in the default Vivid mode. This does get the display punchy and vibrant colors although an excellent display has a delta rating less than 3. There’s a Natural Mode which yanks down the deltaE 2000 rating to 1.8 which is phenomenal. But only if there was only good with the display. It doesn’t support HDR but on the other hand, it is Widevine L1 certified so you will be able to stream HD content for sure. The display is flat so expect any curve at this price tag. The tiny notch on top doesn’t eat essential screen real estate.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy A31 features a MediaTek MT6768 Helio P65 octa-core chipset manufactured using a 12nm process. The chipset is eight cores clocked 2×2.0GHz Cortex-A75 and 6×1.7GHz Cortex-A55 while the GPU is a Mali-G52 MC2. There’s 4/6GB RAM along with 64/128GB internal storage along with only 6+128GB is available in India at the time of writing this. The storage is eMMC 5.1 which is on point with the given price tag.

Talking about the benchmarking scores, the phone managed to pick up 352 points on a single-core on GeekBench 5.1 while the multi-core test got 1,216 points. About the AnTuTu 8, it managed to score a whopping 1,68,607 points which is still lower than competitors such as Realme 6 scored 2,88,931 points. Other smartphones that scored higher than Galaxy A31 are Galaxy A51 (1,75,363 points), Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 (2,00,414 points), Galaxy M21 (1,80,711 points) and others.

Talking about usual tasks, the phone takes much of a load and it takes care of everything. However, when it is subjected to heavy apps like PUBG Mobile that requires a massive amount of resources, you will see that Galaxy A31 isn’t meant to hardcore gaming. It does support extreme frame rate at Smooth graphics but it starts lagging in just the first half an hour of a gaming session.

Practically, the processor does outpace Exynos 9611 although the latter outsmart it in terms of the multi-core test. No doubt the processor is underwhelming given that the phone has a Rs 20K+ price tag. It is also reflected in the slower benchmarking scores.

Software

Samsung Galaxy A31 has an Android 10-based OneUI 2.1 that is optimized to offer the best performance. The software is uncanny and looks brilliant while staying as light as possible. Unlike ColorOS or MIUI, the OneUI 2.1 hasn’t integrated a lot of bloatware that would otherwise make it sluggish. OneUI 2.1 is well-organized with a simple interface with a full set of customization features you can try. You get a huge number of themes to try both paid and free. The Edge lighting feature enables types of peripheral glow for notifications. There’s an Edge menu that has all the icons and apps you use usually. This also makes sure that Galaxy A31 will get the upcoming Android 11-based OneUI 3.0 once it is available.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy A31 grabs a front seat with a quad-camera setup arranged in its popular L-shaped camera setup. It houses a 48MP primary sensor with 0.8micron pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; an 8MP ultrawide sensor with an aperture of f/2.2, 123° FoV along with 1.12micron pixel size. The tertiary camera includes a 5MP dedicated macro sensor with an aperture of f/2.4 and finally, a fourth 5MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The front, on the other hand, has a 20MP selfie shooter with an aperture of f/2.2 that captures average decent-looking photos.

galaxy_a31_camera

Just like any other aspect of the phone, there’s a bit of letdown when it comes to its camera setup as well. It doesn’t have a 4K video recording and a night mode that’s disappointing although the camera app is practically the same as you would use on any other A-series phones. It has a Samsung’s Scene Optimiser AI engine that aids it in capturing stills and videos in HEVC and HEIF formats.

Talking about photography, the main sensor grabs decent-looking photos. It uses a depth sensor along with the main sensor to grab portrait shots. The camera takes 12MP binned shots for more details or you can access its extreme 48MP resolution. The details aren’t that prominent and the low light shots are average as well.

It has a fixed focus so you will have to wait for some time to get the focus on the subject. A Live Focus mode on Galaxy A31 does take respectable bokeh shots at your will, blurring the background with a quality edge detection on-board. Anyways, the macro shot allows users to grab close-up shots as close as 3 to 5cms but it is still of average quality. Videos on Samsung Galaxy A31 are capped at 1080p which is uncanny since its competitors are yanking up the resolution. Overall, the camera captures shots with excessive smoothening of details which whitewashes the photos at times.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy A31 sports a giant 5,000 mAh battery on-board coupled with 15W fast charging tech. It has one of the best ratings when it comes to its battery life with a 124h endurance rating. It can pull off 20:01 hours of video playback on loop, 32:56 hours of 3G talk time on a single charge. When it comes to juicing up the battery, it is capped at 15W which isn’t alluring today when devices are getting faster charging tech. It managed to charge to 30% on a half-hour charging test when its competitors charged over 50%.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

As usual with any budget phone, Samsung Galaxy A31 has a single bottom-firing loudspeaker. Certainly not the loudest, it gets you around with louder mid-tones. It manages to strike the right cords on lower bass frequencies. It has a loudness score of -30.9 LUFS while Realme 6 has a score of -28.7 LUFS. Overall, it is a good setup when compared to others in this price segment.

Talking about the connectivity features, it has an NFC on-board although it is market dependent. There’s A-GPS, Galileo, BDS, Glonass GPS support to go with it. Furthermore, it has a Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac supporting dual-band with 2.4GHz and 5GHz with Wi-Fi Direct. Next up, there’s a Bluetooth v5.0 on-board and also supports A2DP and LE.

There’s an in-display fingerprint scanner that sits on the bottom of the screen allowing users to unlock the phone almost instantly. Note that this isn’t the quickest FPS available yet but it goes on point with its price tag so don’t have much of a blowback. On the other hand, the face unlocking feature is super quick and lets you unlock the phone in a blink.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Massive 5,000 mAh battery
  • Giant 6.4” sAMOLED panel
  • Feature-rich & latest Android OS
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Cons

  • An underpowered processor at this price
  • Biometric is slow
  • Average camera setup
Verdict

The latest addition to the Galaxy A lineup aka Galaxy A31 does offer a good specs sheet on-board. Its processor is somewhat disturbing if you are a heavy user or gaming enthusiast. Furthermore, the phone is capped at shooting FHD videos at 30fps when others are taking it further although these are just minor compromises over the price tag the phone is available at. There’s both pros and cons with the device such as it lacks a dedicated night mode, the fingerprint sensor isn’t that quick although on the other hand, it has a beefy battery and the display looks flamboyant.

Other alternatives include Realme X, Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G, or Youth 5G, or go for Realme 6 or Xiaomi Mi Note 9 Pro if you are having second thoughts. You can grab Galaxy A51 or A50s as an alternative to Galaxy A31.



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